Lyndon Thomas Insurance
We Help You With Medicare.
Summers at the Shop
MEMORIES OF CHILDHOOD VACATIONS
M y parents met at college in Greenville, Illinois, an hour and a half east of St. Louis. They were from different states: Mom was from Michigan and Dad was from South Dakota. After they married, they moved back to the farm outside of Forestburg that Dad’s grandfather started in 1895. Mom always joked that if she had known where South Dakota was when Dad asked her to marry him, she would have said no. All kidding aside, Dad made good on his promise that he would make sure Mom got back every year to Michigan to visit her parents and family. A huge part of my growing up years were the summer trips to Albion, the southern Michigan town where Mom grew up. I loved my maternal grandparents immensely. Mixing more tenderness with love than sternness, Earl and Ruth Connor always welcomed their Dakota grandsons with open hearts and arms. Grandpa had a small barn called “The Shop,” where he worked his craftsmanship on everything he touched. After a 35-year career as a letter carrier with the United States Postal Service, The Shop was the realm where he was jack of all trades and master of none. Grandma’s kitchen was the source of so many wonderful things. We weren’t spoiled with candy, but my brother always got his box of Wheaties, and I got my Honeycomb! I’m sure that later in the day there was just the right amount of ice cream involved as well. Grandpa and Grandma worked together on a very large garden. By growing some of every kind of vegetable there, summer meals were delicious and nutritious. Grandpa was an avid fisherman and enjoyed taking his grandsons along with him for trout, bass, and bluegills, though rarely did he
take us both at the same time. The boat wasn’t big enough for the two brothers, and he did not enjoy arbitrating our sibling bickering. Individually as it was, he taught us to fish, though this prairie farm boy never really got the hang of it. Grandpa was disgusted by catching a huge carp on one fishing trip. He decided it would make better rose bush fertilizer than table fare. I remember the rose blooms being particularly spectacular a few weeks later. I learned to ride a bike there at 920 Burr Oak Street. Grandpa bought a small, used, hard-rubber-tire bicycle, suitable for 6-year-old grandsons. Since the bike had no training wheels and I had no cut-offs to wear, the right pant leg of my jeans would catch and tear on the pedal as I pushed myself. Numerous times Grandma graciously sewed the inseam on my jeans as she prayed I would learn to keep my balance. Late one afternoon, just before supper, magic happened! Without even thinking about it, my right foot matched my left foot on its pedal, and just like Bill Murray’s character in “What About Bob?” I was sa-a-ailing! Well, riding my bike. I rode it from the sidewalk along the house to the gravel driveway curving around past the other side of the house, then to the sidewalk along the street, and back to the sidewalk past the house. Round and round and round I went. I was so excited that I missed supper that night and didn’t mind going to bed hungry. It was awesome! And Grandma didn’t have to sew up any more of my pant legs! Visits with cousins, catching fireflies, boating at Uncle John and Aunt Marti’s, and so many more memories remind me that you don’t need to travel to exotic, expensive places to have an incredible summer vacation. I hope you have the chance to find yours this summer.
Published by The Newsletter Pro • www.NewsletterPro.com
Published by The NewsletterPro • www.NewsletterPro.com
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